AFCON 2019: CAF Explains Reasons For Low Turnout Of Fans In Stadia
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The 2019 African Cup of Nations raps up in Egypt this Friday, with the grand finale pitting Algeria against Senegal. One of the aspect that have got many wandering, is the low turnout observe in almost all the games venues. In the land of the Pharaohs, seven times AFCON winner, the extravaganza that is characteristic of Football encounters has been very lacking.
Just when many thought Football is not really a culture in Egypt, it has turned out to be a well layed down plan from the continents Football authorities, to ensure that calm reigns during and after games.
Speaking during a press conference in Cairo on Thursday, CAF president, Ahmad Ahmad explained that the low turnout is partly due to the fact that that CAF decided to allow access into the stadia, to only fans who have their fans Identification or present their passports, as identification document. The CAF boss however insisted that even if the fans are not showing up, he is eager to work on better attendance but had agreed with his executive that he prefers stadia with few people whose security is guaranteed, rather than jam packed stadia, filled with people, without any security guarantee given that identitification of fans is for security reasons.
These words from Ahmad Ahmad, comes to give another thought to people who have been criticising the half empty stadia observed since the start of the competition.
It should be noted that most games in the Egyptian top tier Championship are played been closed doors, in other to avoid crowd troubles, from sometimes very violent fans. Recently, as CAF Champions league game between Egyptian side Ismaily and Club African of Tunisia, was ended abruptly, due to crowd troubles at the Ismaïla Stadium. The match played on 18 January 2019, witnessed the throwing of stones and water bottles at the Assistant Referee and the visiting team (Club Africain) around the 86 minute mark, forcing the match officials to end the match after continuous failed attempts to restart play.
Therefore the fan identification process introduced by CAF is a step towards improving the behavior of fans in the stadium and given that it’s the first try, it can only get better in future.